NFTs are having a seismic impact on the music business.
Just this week, superstar DJ Steve Aoki, said that he’s earned more money from NFTs than he did from advances over the past 10 years.
The majors are also ramping up their participation in the NFT market. Today, Universal Music Group (UMG) has announced a ‘strategic collaboration’, with digital collectables firm Curio, which UMG calls “the premier Non-Fungible Token (NFT) platform for entertainment brands and musical artists”.
The deal will see Curio serve as a dedicated global outlet for future officially licensed NFT projects from UMG’s record labels, operating companies and recording artists worldwide.
With the agreement, UMG becomes the first major music company to collaborate with Curio.
Today’s news follows a string of recent NFT-related announcements from UMG, including a deal to develop ‘virtual identities’ and NFTs for its artists in partnership with avatar tech firm Genies
In November, Universal label 10:22PM launched a new virtual group called KINGSHIP, made up of characters from Bored Ape Yacht Club, which UMG says is one of the most successful non-fungible token (NFT) projects of all time.
Under the partnership announced today, UMG says that it will be able to “leverage Curio’s groundbreaking technology, exclusive partnerships, and innovative fan engagement networks” to create and launch future NFT projects from its roster of global artists and labels.
UMG also says that it aims to provide “greater scalability and flexibility to issue authentic fan-orientated collectibles, carefully curated for each project”.
Curio first launched in 2020 and released its first NFTs in February 2021. The company reports to have released over 75,000 NFTs since then with entertainment brands across music, film, television, and graphic novels.
The company’s team is also packed with significant music industry experience. Co-Founder & Co-CEO, Ben Arnon, previously worked at Universal Music Group, while veteran music manager Dan Dymtrow serves as Curio’s Head of Music & Influencer NFT Global Partnerships.
Marc Geiger, former Global Head of Music at William Morris Endeavor, serves as an investor and advisor to Curio.
UMG and Curio are already working together on their initial wave of projects, with the first issue scheduled for March from Capitol Music Group artist Calum Scott.
“UMG and our labels are focused on developing NFT projects that authentically engage and speak to our artists’ fanbases and new audiences.”
Michael Nash, Universal Music Group
In making the announcement, Michael Nash, Universal Music Group’s Executive Vice President, Digital Strategy, said: “UMG and our labels are focused on developing NFT projects that authentically engage and speak to our artists’ fanbases and new audiences.
“With Curio, our labels will have a secure and dedicated platform to host these premium projects and provide new opportunities for collectors and fans from around the world to acquire unique pieces, inspired by their favorite artists and labels.
“UMG is focused on developing new opportunities in this space that place our artists and labels at the forefront, working to ensure that the evolution of Web3 provides exciting new avenues for their creativity.”
“Curio is thrilled to be partnered with UMG in the NFT and Web3 space. UMG has a huge catalog with unlimited opportunity to deliver value to fans across the globe.”
Ben Arnon, Curio
Ben Arnon, Curio’s Co-Founder & Co-CEO, added: “Curio is thrilled to be partnered with UMG in the NFT and Web3 space. UMG has a huge catalog with unlimited opportunity to deliver value to fans across the globe.
“Their brands and labels are historic and iconic. And the digital innovation and Web3 expertise amongst their executives is unparalleled.”Music Business Worldwide